Sony Shuts Down Ebook Store

sonypinkreaderThe latest bookstore to bite the dust is Sony’s Reader Store, which sold ebooks for the now defunct Sony Reader device.

Book Publishers Northwest editor Rosemary Jones noted that the Reader was one of the earliest ebook devices to work with the Overdrive library system. “I bought my pink reader on sale to check out books at the library,” said Jones, who wrote about the experience at Red Room. “And it was a handy device, priced around $100 on sale…a big drop in price at the time. As I took my Pocket Reader to various conventions and on trips, it really sold me on the convenience of traveling with ebooks as opposed to three or four paperbacks stuffed in my luggage.”

In announcement tucked in the FAQs on the company’s website, Sony stated “plans to close Reader Store in the U.S. and Canada on March 20, 2014. Unless a customer chooses to not be included in the transfer process, Reader Store will transfer customers to Toronto-based eReading company Kobo–an admired eBook store and reading community. We strongly believe that this transition will allow customers to enjoy a continued high-quality e-reading experience.”

As part of the transition,the company will release a software update that will allow Reader users to directly connect to the Kobo Store for future purchases. The company says that the software also will also the transfer of new titles via USB to any of the Reader models issued by Sony.

In late May 2014, Kobo should launch a version of its eBook Store that will be able to be used directly by the Wi-Fi Reader (PRS-T1, PRS-T2, and PRS-T3).

Sony opened their ebook platform to small presses and self-published authors. At Smashwords, Mark Coker announced that they would “cease delivery of new titles to Sony” effective immediately. They did not foresee any issue in the collection of royalties for books already sold.

“Any time we lose a retailer of any kind – whether ebook retailer or neighborhood bricks & mortar retailer – it’s a sad day. Book culture, and book sales opportunity for authors, is maximized by having as many booksellers as possible employing as many passionate booklovers as possible out there dedicating their every day to connecting books with readers. The more retailers there are, the less dependent the author becomes on any one single retailer,” wrote Coker. “I wish our friends at Sony the best and trust their dedicated team members will find new opportunities to participate in the ebook revolution they helped create. I’m so appreciative of the amazing support they provided Smashwords authors over the last five years.”